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April 29, 2007

I like working with plants (in a physical sense). It’s one of those things I forget when I’m not doing it. There have gotten to be so many of those I feel like I need to hire someone to send me periodical reminders. :P

When I was in Florida I had an awesome container garden on my balcony. It all seemed so easy, but then, maybe anything will grow in Florida.

I didn’t try anything in Georgia, probably because I moved there in May and it seemed late to start, and the following spring there were a lot more urgent things consuming my attention.

The spring after I moved to Seattle I tried, but the way our patio was set up very little sunlight got through. I tried seedlings, and when those didn’t work out I bought starter plants, but even the shade-loving ones died. :(

The next few years I was living in an apartment without any kind of outdoor space. I’m very wary about trying houseplants. I don’t trust the cat. When I moved to a new place with a balcony, I’d gotten into that forgetting how much I liked it mode.

My now-mother-in-law who is very into gardening brought over a jasmine plant in a huge pot for my birthday that year (with stealth tulips and mini daffodils planted that I discovered the next spring). Last year she brought a pot with parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme (and more stealth tulips).

I discovered it’s very nice having green growing things out on the balcony again.

This year, I decided to give growing plants from seed another shot. I got one of those mini greenhouses and picked out 5 kinds of plants, and got it all set up around Spring Equinox.

I was all psyched about this being a good way to reconnect with the Nature Spirits. Sadly, the local Nature Spirits were very much unimpressed. I suppose that growing non-native plants in potting soil on a balcony five stories up over a busy urban street really isn’t a great bonding experience. Oh, sure, it’s a way to connect to Nature in general, but specific nature HERE? No.

Ah, well, it works as Ancestor connection for me too. My paternal grandfather was very into gardening and I feel a stronger connection to him when I’ve got my hands in the dirt helping things grow. It’s also a good way to connect with my mother-in-law to get more in tune with my new family line.

I am very sad to report that even though I planted 25 peat pots and everything sprouted. . . only 3 seedlings survived. :(

I don’t know what I was doing wrong! I mean, one morning there are a bunch of perky seedlings, I put the tray out on the balcony on a warm day to get some sun, and they die?

samildanach tells me that growing plants from seed is really hard. . . but it’s still discouraging (especially when it wasn’t hard in Florida! I thought I could do this okay!).

There was a time when I’d look at the situation, get all frustrated, declare that I’m hopeless and obviously bad at this and that I have a black thumb, then quit.

But you know, 22 may have died, but I still have 3 more seedlings than I would have had if I never tried. I may yet get to eat chives and peppers I grew myself, and make an offering of lavender that represents more time, effort and caring than what I could just buy at the store.

And you know what else? I have 22 peat pots and a mini greenhouse and more seeds, and it’s still only April.

I’m going to go re-plant.


One Comment leave one →
  1. April 30, 2007 8:37 PM

    It really is climate dependent. I have had amazing success with my tomato seedlings (everything sprouted, everything survived potting, I am going to be giving away tomato plants to everyone I know this summer), but my salad greens had a great kill-off when I put them outside to get some some. What is this “cold weather plants” one speaks of? It was only 90 degrees outside! [facepalm] I do much better with in-ground than with containers, so far, but I am determined to keep trying. I have “The Bountiful Container”, am reading my way through, and am not afraid to use it. (And yeah, I reuse peat pots too; I’m about to start the beans that way.)
    Seattle was very difficult for me, horticulturally. I think I had a 75% death rate for everything I tried the whole two years I was there. Granted, we were in a challenging situation (indoor apartment in urban canyon, one usable west-facing window, one north-facing, that’s it), but I still felt discouraged sometimes. Still, I did get some nice basil, and never managed to kill off the rosemary or aloe either.
    Best of luck with your garden; go you!

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